Running on empty: Spiking gas prices hit students hard

By on March 1, 2012

By Michelle Eigenheer–

A recent trend in gas prices has university students scrambling for pocket change and bursting into tears.

Last week, gas prices began to rise, leaving students with less-than-full tanks. Gasbuddy.com, a website that tracks gas prices through the United States and Canada, reported that on Feb. 21, 2012,  “Spot prices, a ‘base’ price that [gas] stations pay depending on their location,” had risen across the U.S. “[Spot prices] in Chicago, the market that determines prices in Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana and Ohio, rose a whopping 20-cents per gallon,” said petroleum analyst Patrick DeHaan on the website’s blog.

Essentially, this means that the entire region surrounding the University of Louisville has experienced a 20-cent or more price increase, per gallon of gas.

Students who live and work off-campus are greatly influenced by the ups and downs of the fuel industry.

When gas prices rise substantially within a short period of time, it throws a curveball at students who can›t afford to pay the extra $10 or $20 at the pump.

“I’ve had to miss a couple of days because I couldnt afford the gas to get to campus. I even considered not going back this semester to save the money I’d spend on gas for rent and bills,” said Laura Smith, a freshman exercise science major.

Not only are gas prices detrimental to the lives of commuters, but also to people who go back to see their family on a regular basis. Driving anywhere from 30 to 100 miles, or even more, takes a lot of gas and college students can’t always afford this. This means that they end up staying at the university, or asking mom and dad to pay for their fuel.

According to AAA’s daily fuel gauge report, the national average cost of regular unleaded fuel on Sunday, Feb. 26 was $3.688 for a gallon. Gasbuddy.com puts the average in Louisville at $3.703 per gallon. With gas prices nearing $4 per gallon – a price tag that often sends people into a panic and sparks political criticism – college students may start to rethink the way they drive.

news@louisvillecardinal.com
Photo/Flickr: Orbin Zebest

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